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Aran Inspired

The National Gallery

The national collection of Irish artwork numbers more than 500, with the focus on Irish artists and their varied talents. But visitors to the National Gallery will find a broad selection of European treasures as well, representative of each of the most popular schools of painting. The National Gallery opened in 1864, on the west side of Merrion Square amid a series of civic buildings, and displays a collection ranging in date from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The building was designed by Francis Fowke, who conceived the design for London's Victoria & Albert Museum.

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National Museum - Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks)

Built in 1704, Collins Barracks served as a military base for 290 years before becoming the Decorative Arts and History wing of the National Museum of Ireland. Today, admission is FREE to this popular attraction, consisting of thirteen exhibitions distributed around a central courtyard, where British and subsequently Irish soldiers once paraded. Pace markings, used to help army recruits learn drill movements, are still visible on the courtyard walls. The permanent exhibitions in the museum, listed below, display over 10,000 items of Irish culture, heritage and national history, with a focus on arts, design and military history. Visitors will find a nice café and gift shop on the site.

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Old Jameson Distillery

The original site of John Jameson's distillery on Bow St. Dublin West, Dublin is now a museum offering visitors an education in the distillation of whiskey from grain to bottle. The Jameson Company was established in 1780 and produced one of Ireland's most famous whiskies for nearly 200 years until local distillers merged to form the Irish Distillers. The brand was acquired by French drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard in 1988. The Jameson distillery operation was moved to an ultra -modern establishment in Middleton, County Cork and still produces Jameson Whiskey, although vatting still takes place at the Bow St. location. When Jameson acquired the distillery on Bow St. in 1780, it was producing 30,000 gallons annually.

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The General Post Office (GPO)

The General Post Office (GPO) on the west side of O'Connell Street dominates Dublin's main thoroughfare. Constructed from impressive mountain granite, the three-storey high building is still a functioning post office. The GPO has three iconic statues on its roof: Mercury on the right, Fidelity on the left, and Hibernia (the old Roman name for Ireland) in the centre. Due to its dramatic role in the events of Easter 1916, which led up to Irish Independence, The GPO remains a key symbol of Irish nationalism --- indeed, some regard the building as a national monument. Several Irish patriots are commemorated in the main hall. The main hall also includes an impressive bronze sculpture depicting the death of Cuchulainn, the mythical hound of Ulster. Created by artist Oliver Shepherd, it was dedicated to the participants of the 1916 Easter Rising.

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Chester Beatty Library

The Chester Beatty library, former European museum of the year, contains many internationally important artefacts. Stand-out examples of the library's unique attractions include the oldest manuscript, in any language, of Mark's Gospel, of Paul's Letters and of the Book of Revelations. This very special treasure of Dublin exists courtesy of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), an American of Irish descent who made his millions in the Canadian mining industry.

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The Book of Kells

The most richly decorated medieval manuscript on the planet, The Book of Kells remains one of Ireland's most popular attractions. Housed at Trinity College in Dublin, people willingly stand in long queues  just to glimpse a portion of this masterpiece from the early medieval Celtic world. The Book of Kells is named for the town where it was discovered in Kells, a town in County Meath, northeast of Dublin. It was here that Saint Columba established a monastery sometime during the sixth century. Three hundred or so years later, a group of monks arrived from Iona in Scotland, seeking a safe place to reside after being routed by the Danes.They remained at the monastery at Kells, where they are said to have completed and illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels in Latin.

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Donegal Historical Society Museum

Located in the Franciscan Friary in Rossnowlagh, this free museum contains a fine array of artefacts associated with County Donegal, from pre-historic times up to the 20th century. It is one Ireland's most popular small museums, receiving over 10,000 visitors a year.

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